Vendee Globe - 1130 - 6/12/00
More relevant is how they are positioned for the next change in the weather. Looking at the above image, we can see how the high pressure is still stalking the fleet. At the moment, most of the leading pack are all riding happily on the south-westerlies on its leading edge.
But this system is set to move east quite quickly, by mid-afternoon on the 6/12/00 it wil be centred over their 0500 position on the same day. The front three definitely look safe, and these Open 60s should be quick enough for the top ten to outrun the centre and stay in decent breeze. But this would be a bad time to have a breakdown and have to stop. Then it will be a case of the devil taking the hindmost - a small loss from the breakdown will turn into a big loss from getting stuck in the honey trap of the high.
From the evening of the 6/12/00 onwards, this high is forecast to move more north-east, until it once again becomes subsumed by the main South Atlantic High, and at that point the boats in the south should be able to relax. But those in the north - particularly Catherine Chabaud, and to a much lesser extent Marc Thiercelin - should be afraid, very afraid. Catherine Chabaud's plummet down the rankings may not be over yet.